Kansas City man urges buyers beware when considering long-term care insurance

Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 4:52 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Francis and Dorothy Schmidt are planners. The couple has been married for nearly 60 years and carefully planned for their future.

Years ago, he bought a long-term care insurance policy to protect them in case either of them ever needed to move into a facility. Francis faithfully paid the premium for 26 years.

Sadly, that day came, but the Schmidts were disappointed in the company’s response. Francis said his policy is a worthless piece of paper.

“I waited and waited, and waited,” said Schmidt. “I thought I’d be getting a reimbursement.”

What is long-term care insurance?

Researchers from the Urban Institute estimate that 70% of Americans who reach age 65 will need long-term care (LTC) services.

Private companies began offering LTC insurance in the 1970s. It’s designed to pay for or, depending on the plan, help pay for long-term services such as in-home care or care in a facility — services not paid by regular health insurance. Many policies have limits on how long they’ll pay and for how long.

Regular health insurance usually doesn’t cover long-term care. Most policies will only cover limited home health or short nursing home stays.

Even though most Americans will need some type of long-term care insurance, few actually buy it. The cost can vary depending on your age, when you buy it, your overall health, gender, marital status, and the amount of coverage you think you’ll need.

When he first bought the policy, Francis said he paid a little over $,1800 a year. However, the prices have increased. This year, he said he paid about $2,600 and he just learned it is going up again this year.

A long-term struggle

Francis paid his policy on time every year. Earlier this year, Francis and his wife moved into a facility. Dorothy has dementia and they moved so he could take care of her while getting some help to come into their home.

Francis Schmidt told KCTV5 his policy was easy to buy, but cumbersome to use. He urges people to pay attention and read the fine print.

He found out his reimbursement was lower than he anticipated and getting that reimbursement took longer than he expected.

“It’s frustrating,” said Francis. “They have shown I cannot trust them. If I had to do it over again, I would not buy long-term care insurance.”

Francis contacted the state insurance departments in Missouri and Nebraska, which is where they lived when he first bought the policy.

“I have the letter from the Department of Insurance in Lincoln,” said Francis. “And, he says that they’re going to overnight a check. I’m still waiting. I’m waiting and waiting. They keep sending all kinds of stuff to cover to their backs. All I want is a reimbursement.”

Francis wonders if long-term care insurance is worth the price and hassle.

KCTV5 reached out twice to the policy holder, Allianz, for comment and asked how long it takes for reimbursement to be processed.

We never heard back but, shortly after our questions, Francis was fully reimbursed.